Gardening club turns its attention to growing coral

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Members of a gardening club in Florida have been taking diving lessons to enable them to take their green-fingered skills underwater.

The Garden Club of the Upper Keys is helping to restore coral reefs and is supporting a planting area on French Reef, where its members took a two-day dive course offered by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.

The FFGC has 13,000 members in 200 clubs and circles. It has adopted the Coral Restoration Foundation as a year-long project.

GCUK President Marilyn Rogers explained that gardening underwater isn't that dissimilar to more the traditional dry land version.

"First the coral is grown in a nursery until it is strong enough to be attached to the reef. The branching corals are then gathered and moved to the protected Staghorn or Elkhorn coral areas. Site selection and preparation are key elements for success. The gardener diver decides where to site the coral, in what position and preps the spot. The corals are attached with special marine epoxy."

Members of the Florida Federation of Garden Club can also adopt a coral to be planted on a sponsored reef site.

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